Sunday, May 22, 2011

Welcome to Miami.... Bienvenido a Miami

This coming weekend is Memorial Day-- and us gals here at The Gourmet Pantry are headed to Florida for some much needed rest, relaxation, sun & fun!!! Life has been a bit stressful lately (to say the least)... and we needed to get our tropical juices flowing in the kitchen to help get us in the proper cheery mood for vacay! 

The sun was shinning for once this weekend, so we poured ourselves some Miami Vice cocktails (for those who aren't familiar, this is when you mix a Strawberry Daiquiri & Pina Colada in one yummy frothy gulp), see photo for said inspiration. 

Then, we played some Bob Marley in the backyard and we instantly got inspired. When you buy these darn tropical mixes at the liquor store there is always so much left over! Naturally, we decided to pour these juices into some batter and create the ever-so-amazing Miami Vice cupcake. The result = winning. WARNING: we did put a little rum in the frosting, so if you're making this recipe for kiddies, just leave it out... don't get them drunk, although I am sure it would help take them off the sugar high, HA! Here's how you can create this cupcake at home... so you can close your eyes, play some music, pour a drink, and feel like you're at the beach!!! Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes (less if you make bigger ones, make sure to fill up the liners a little above halfway-3/4 and no more- these puppies rise!!)

Ingredients (cupcake batter):

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cups flour, all purpose
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup strawberry daiquiri mix
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 tsp vanilla extract

For pina colada frosting:

1 stick butter
1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup pina colada mix
1 shot coconut flavored rum (white rum)
*if you prefer stiffer frosting, add less colada mix & butter
shredded coconut for garnish- we tried to find the little umbrellas but my local bodega just doesn't carry such party favors!!

First, as always, bake the cupcake. Cream the butter & sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the eggs into the sugar/butter mixture one at a time. Then, once combined, add the dry ingredients bit by bit. Alternate with the daiquiri mix, vegetable oil, vanilla extract & jam. Thoroughly mix (the batter will be a light pink color) and fill up your liners. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool THOROUGHLY- this frosting isn't super thick, and we don't want our drinks to melt, do we?


Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar. Make sure it is fully combined, then add the pina colada mix, and the shot of rum. Garnish with a mini cocktail umbrella or shredded coconut. 

Eat, drink & be merry!!! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcake... yupp. We said it.

Hi everyone! Sick of cupcakes yet? Hope not! All this batter-making, bowl-licking goodness got our creative juices and we’ve been toying with a new recipe we just HAD to share!!! How does a chocolate covered strawberry sound? 

Yeah, we thought so…. 

Here’s how it’s done:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter
1  ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ cup strawberry jam

½ cup strawberry jam

large semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate morsels, whatever you have handy works fine!

Cupcake Batter:

In a large bowl, begin by combining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder. Mix until well combined. Next, in a stand mixer, time to mix the wet ingredients! Cream the butter until light and fluffy and looks like whipped cream. Then, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat together until fully combined and whipped-up. Now, add eggs, one at a time, beating lightly until well mixed in. 
Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, portion by portion. Alternating with the vegetable oil, then the milk at the end to thin out the batter. Preheat oven to 350 and bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick or small fork comes out clean! Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly before filling & frosting!

Jam Filling:

Take a small sharp pairing knife and hollow out a hole in the middle of the cupcake. Be careful not to puncture through to the bottom, that’d be messy to eat! Make the hole as large or small as preferred—but we prefer a larger center, as this jam center really is THE JAM! HA! Use a piping bag, small zip lock bag with a hole snipped at the end, or simply a tiny spoon, and fill it up! Make sure to fill it straight to the brim, even overflow a little, the more, the strawberrier! (is that a word? If not, it should be!)
TIP: many grocery stores have tons of local jams in the aisle right next to the commercial ones we see everyday. Always go local! The ingredients are fresh, taste better, better for you… oh, and you’re supporting the good peeps!!

Strawberry Buttercream:

Cream 1 stick of butter in your stand mixer or hand held mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the 1 ¼ cup of confectioners sugar until well combined, and back to a fluffy nature. Pour in the ½ cup strawberry jam and whip up until it is pink, fluffy, and oh-so-sugary-delicious!! Pour into a piping bag, or just smear it right onto the cooled & filled cupcakes! Garnish with a chocolate chip morsel (or dare we say, two or more?!), and EAT!!!!

All this cupcake needs now is a glass of red wine, a chick flick, and some friends!! Let’s face it, feed this cupcake to your guests and they won’t care that your movie of choice might be “Pretty Woman” or “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” You won’t lose anyone with this cupcake, guaranteed!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lemon Basil Cupcake... trust us on this!!!

Hi all--- as you might be SO shocked, our baking fever just hasn't broken yet, and our cupcake craze has continued. I was inspired this week by my grandmother, given that Mother's Day has just come & gone, she mentioned to me that lemon cake was her favorite, and she hadn't had it in a long time. Time to get baking.... but this time I didn't want to just create her a simple lemon cupcake, but wanted to top it off with something special. And then BOOM.... the idea for a basil cream cheese frosting popped into my head! Or, maybe it was because I spent the previous hour watching a show on the Food Network, and basil was a star ingredient. Nah, let's just say it was plain ole' fashioned creativity that brought this idea to me! The Lemon Cupcake with Basil Cream Cheese frosting was born... and here's how it all gets put together! Mom, Grandma, Friend, Sister, Brother... all will appreciate this refreshing spring time treat!


(Cake Batter):
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, unsalted
1 cup sugar, at room temp
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp lemon extract
2 lemons, (zest & juice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then slowly add your dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and vegetable oil. Then, add the lemon extract, along with the juice and zest of two lemons. Once combined thoroughly, add 1/4 cup heavy cream. Preheat the oven to 350, bake 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick test is passed. Let cool completely before frosting..... wait, now we need to MAKE the frosting!

Basil Cream Cheese:

8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter, unsalted
2 cups confectioner's sugar, (more if you prefer stiffer/sweeter icing)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp milk, if desired, to thin out icing if preferred

In a mixer, whip together the cream cheese & butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time, less or more depending on desired consistency & sweetness. Add vanilla extract & a splash of milk to thin out icing if desired. Add the basil as the last step & fold in with a spoon or spatula and mix evenly. Pour into a piping bag or simply smear it onto your lemony cupcake and EAT UP!!!! Refreshing, sweet, and simply put: amazing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tiramisu.... Cupcake. Enough Said.

I am not sure about any of you out there, but it has been a rough few weeks lately with all this rain. Gloom & doom is a good way to describe my mood lately, and the only thing that can lift my spirits sometimes is dessert. I mean, who WOULDN'T be cheered up with a mouthful of the sugary goodness that is Tiramisu? Mascarpone, coffee, sugar, butter.... need I say more?

Time to eat your feelings with this cupcake. Don't worry, I made sure to remove all of the calories before serving. Mix up a batch, and you will soon be forgetting all your weekly worries! Buon Appetito!


1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick of butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

For filling:
8 oz marscarpone cheese, room temp
1 1/4cup confectioner's sugar
3 tsp instant coffee

For buttercream topping:
1 stick butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tsp milk
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Garnish: 1 bar of bittersweet chocolate, shaved/grated

First thing's first--- make the cake! Preheat oven to 350 and fill up your cupcake tin with liners. In a medium bowl, add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) and mix well & set aside. In a seperate bowl with your mixer, add softened butter & sugar & cream together until light and fluffy. Then add eggs one at a time, incorporate well into the mixture. Then add the vanilla extract. Next, add your dry ingredients in batches, incorporating slowly, alternating with the milk as needed to thin it out. Once all is combined, fill up your cupcake liners 3/4 of the way, and bake 20-25 minutes or until it passes the "toothpick" test! Set aside and cool thoroughly before adding the filling & frosting (or else it will melt, and that just won't do).

To make the filling:
In a bowl, mix together the marscarpone cheese with instant coffee and confectioner's sugar.

Buttercream frosting:
OK, last one. Cream together butter, confectioner's sugar, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, and thin it out with milk as needed. If you like thinner frosting, add more milk.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, take a sharp pairing knife or small knife you have, and hollow up each with a hole in the middle. You like more filling? Make the hole bigger! Fill the holes using a piping bag or tiny spoon. Then top with the buttercream. For added texture and sugary goodness, shave a bar of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate on top for the finishing touch. This cupcake will lift your spirits in no time!!